25 iconic moments that define the 21st century thus far

From the turn of the Millennium to the election of President Trump, here are the moments that have shaped the century

We may only be 18 years into this 100-strong century, but the world has already changed immeasurably. With much to celebrate and much to mourn, these are the 25 most iconic moments so far — notable for their immense influence and impact upon the world.

2000 — The world welcomes the Millennium (and the bug doesn’t destroy everything)

From firework displays to souvenir postage stamps, every country around the world celebrates the turn of the Millennium in their own unique way.

2001 — The 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers shocks the world

Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda conduct a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States of America. Both Twin Towers fall.

2003 — Combined troops invade Iraq, commencing the first stage of the Iraq War

The invasion begins the protracted armed conflict that overthrows the government of Saddam Hussein and occupies the Middle Eastern country.

2004 — Facebook is formed by Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard

The young entrepreneur launches the online social media and networking service along with his roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes.

2005 — Terrorists hit London, leaving 52 dead and 700 injured

A series of coordinated terrorist suicide attacks target morning commuters in London, hitting the capital’s public transport systems. 56 people die.

2007 — Steve Jobs and Apple launch the first iPhone

The late Apple CEO ties to the stage in January to unveil the new personal smart device, promising to revolutionise the phone industry.

2007 — The global financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression, hits

Considered by many economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, the world’s economy goes into decline.

2008 — Barack Obama wins the 2008 election, becoming the first African American President

On November 4, Barack Obama is elected 44th President of the United States, beating out John McCain.

2010 — A series of protests and demonstrations in the Middle East start the ‘Arab Spring’

In response to oppressive regimes and a low standard of living, people of the Middle East rebel, beginning with protests in Tunisia.

2010 — 33 men are rescued from a mine in Copiapó, after being trapped for 69 days

At the San José copper–gold mine in the Atacama Desert, all 33 trapped miners are rescued by the Chilean government.

2011 — Commandos conduct a raid in Pakistan, which ends with the killing of Osama bin Laden

On May 2, a group of United States Navy SEALs of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Development Group kill the first leader of the Islamist group Al-Qaeda.

2011 — The Syrian Civil War begins, a conflict still being fought to this day

Fought between the Ba’athist Syrian Arab Republic led by President Bashar al-Assad, along with its allies, the ongoing Syrian Civil War begins.

2012 — The US rover, Curiosity, takes a selfie on Mars

The rover snaps a selfie on Mars, capturing the surface of the planet. The photograph was taken from Vera Rubin Ridge on the Red Planet.

2012 — The London 2012 Opening Ceremony is watched by 900 million people worldwide

Featuring Sir Paul McCartney, Daniel Craig, Rowan Atkinson, the Artic Monkeys and the Queen, Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony welcomes the games to London.

2013 — The world says goodbye to anti-apartheid revolutionary and peace activist Nelson Mandela

In a vast tent in Qunu, and attended by 4,500 people, the ceremony was also televised around the world. It also featured a 21 gun salute for the leader, and a formation flyover.

2013 — The Boston Marathon bombings kill 3 people and injure an estimated 264 others

Two homemade pressure cooker bombs detonate 12 second apart near the finish line of the race, killing several and leaving 16 without limbs.

2014 — Malala Yousafazi becomes the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Prize

For her struggle against the suppression of children, and the right of all children to education, the Pakistani activist wins the Nobel Peace Prize.

2015 — Greece becomes the first developed country to default the International Monetary Fund

Defaulting on a $1.7 billion IMF payment, Greece becomes the first developed country to do so from the 188 nations in the Fund.

2015 — Same-sex marriage is legalised across all fifty states in the USA

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalising it in all fifty states, and requiring states to honour out-of-state same-sex marriage licenses.

2015 — Queen Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning monarch in British history

At the age of 89 years, 141 days, Elizabeth II becomes the longest-reigning British Monarch. One leader later, she becomes the world’s longest-reigning current monarch.

2015 — A series of coordinated terrorist attacks occur across Paris on Friday 13 November

Beginning at just after 9pm, when suicide bombers strike outside the Stade de France, Paris is struck by a series of attacks, culminating in a massacre at the Bataclan theatre.

2016 — Britain votes to leave the European Union in the Brexit Referendum

With 52% of the voting British public opting to leave the European Union, the wheels are set in motion for the United Kingdom to invoke Article 50.

2016 — Donald Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States

With just over 46% of the overall vote, Trump gains 304 electoral votes and beats Hillary Clinton to the Presidency.

2017 — Facebook hits 2 billion global users for the first time

In the third quarter of 2012, Facebook hit the 1 billion mark. 5 years later, the company doubles that figure.

2018 — Apple becomes the first public company to be worth $1 trillion

The tech giant beats out Silicon Valley rivals such as Amazon and Microsoft to become the first to hit the $1 trillion valuation.

Further Reading